Wednesday - October 22, 2014
Overhaul of state annexation rules to become law
Friday, 01 July 2011 04:04

(RALEIGH) -- Any North Carolina city or town hoping to expand its borders by acquiring unincorporated areas will soon have to operate under new guidelines. Legislation that would overhaul the state’s 50-year-old annexation rules will now become law without Gov. Bev Perdue’s signature.

The measure allows citizens to block an involuntary annexation if 60 percent of property owners submit a petition opposing it. The legislation also requires local governments to provide water and sewer service within three-and-a-half years to landowners that request it. Currently, municipalities only have to run water and sewer lines to the adjacent street.
 
“I think cities will look long and hard and will have to sell their annexations to the people who will be annexed,” said Stam. “They’ll have to make it a mutually beneficial proposal.”
 
Critics say the current law has provided cities and towns with an important tool for managing growth in a responsible way. Kelli Kukura, director of government affairs for the N.C. League of Municipalities, said the changes will result in “significantly fewer” city-initiated annexations.
 
“If a city or town decides to annex, they will come to that decision very reluctantly and certainly as carefully – if not, more carefully – than they have before,” said Kukura. “And they’ll be much smaller annexations because they simply won’t be able to afford the free water and sewer all the way to the home.”
 
Annexation reform has been a high-priority issue for Republicans during the past few years. A similar bill passed the House in 2009, but was considered in the Senate.
 
“It's been a raw wound that needed to be healed,” said Stam. “I think we may have to tweak it a little bit when we see how it works, but essentially the problem has been solved for the next decade or so.”

 
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